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on tho forced spending cuts, even if it's temporary. the way wall street says it, it would keep those spending cuts from going into effect because gdp wouldn't take a hit. that means growth in the u.s. couldn't take a hit. as far as what else is propelling stocks higher, mergers and acquisitions going on, media, even in the office services area, office depot, office max, possibly talking about a tie-up themselves. that is certainly giving some momentum to stocks and giving investors a little bit of oo mph to buy into the stock. who knows if it will stick. >> alison, thank you. >> sure. thank you for keeping me company here at cnn as i was in for brooke baldwin. i want to take you to "the situation room" with wolf blitzer because he starts right now. and let's take a look at the "closing bell."
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you heard alison kosik say we're not going to hit the 14,164 today but we there is a lot going on in washington with the sequester and we have to hope that we are going to be seeing these kinds of numbers, wolf. we certainly hope it for a long time. but depending on what -- depending on what washington does, we'll have to see if it sticks. wolf blitzer? thanks very much. happening now, forced budget cuts just days away. we're going to show you three ways the across the board spending reductions could impact you. also, a diamond heist right out of the movies. $50 million worth of stolen diamonds from an airplane. how they got away. it might surprise you. plus, a horse meat scandal
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spreads to one of the world's largest food companies. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." congress did it, congress can undo it. president obama is warning of dire consequences for all of us in lawmakers don't act quickly. we're talking about those forced budget cuts that take effect march 1st, slashing $85 billion from spending across the board this year. but with just ten days left, the consequences are backing more alarming. president obama outlined some of them today, told congress, let's make a deal while there is still some time. >> my door is open. i've put tough cuts and reforms
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on the table. i am willing to work with anybody to get this job done. none of us will get 100% of what we want. but nobody should want these cuts to go through because the last thing our families can afford right now is pain imposed unnecessarily by partisan recklessness and ideological rigid tea here in washington. visually, the president tried to make that point by having law enforcement officers standing behind him. many of them could lose their jobs. our joe johns is covering that with the different ways that the budget cuts could directly affect you. we also have renee marsh covering the potential cut and how it kol affect the food we eat. let's start with joe at the supreme court. joe? >> wolf, the federal bar association says a quarter of federal court employees might
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have to be furloughed as well. jury trials might have to be suspended because there's no money to pay the members of the juries. the justice system is going to be affected across the board, especially the justice department. the president has said it's an issue of national security. >> fbi agents will be furloughed. federal prosecutors will have to close cases and let criminals go. for example, the fbi would have to cut 2300 employees, hundreds of agents. others would be affected as well, including border security agents. also, correctional officers who work at federal prisons. however, one man i spoke to with the cato institute in washington, d.c., told me there is a silver lining. >> it's not asking too much for the government to take a tiny bit of trimming.
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>> reporter: we do know there are places at the justice department to cut. for example, there was a report that came out just last year from the general accountability office that said that there's as much as $33 billion spent since the year 2005 on crime prevention programs that are often duplicative and counterproductive. now let's go to renee la mark at vwi airport. >> reporter: that's right, wolf. if you're flying out of airports like vwi, you are looking for a tough time if these cuts go through. let's talk about the faa. they are expecting to see an 8.2% budget cut. that translates to $627 million this year. that could mean furloughs for some employees. let's talk about the tsa. they could also see furloughs and cuts in over time.
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i want to show you what that could mean for you, the travelers. that could mean that wait cuts at security lines could be more than an hour. we also know that wait times at customs could go up by 50%. flight delays. that would be simply because of fewer air traffic controllers and instead of conducting business, it could be stuck in those long lines. so we spoke to the airport director here at bwi and he talked about what travel could look like. take a listen. >> if you think back to post- 9/11, when you didn't have the people on hand to handle all of the passengers, that's what you could be looking at. >> reporter: okay. despite that, he sounds pretty confident that things will still remain safe as far as flying but he made it very clear, things
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will be slow moving. from here, let's go on over to erin with more. >> reporter: thanks, rene. these forced budget cuts would also lead to less money for public health problems as well as less research for the international health. just this morning the president said, quote, hundreds of thousands of americans will lose access to primary care and preventive care like flu vaccinations and cancer screenings and the cuts to mental health funding will leave 373,000 americans left untreated. now, that might mean scaling back on youth violence prevention programs. the politicians on both sides of the aisle want to see more of after that shooting in newtown. on top of that, the agriculture department also thinks our food supply might be at risk, that the food inspectors would have a 15-day furlough, which means no safety check on meat, poultry,
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or eggs. stores can't sell unchecked meat. and so for our viewers that would mean a lot less protein in the supermarket for weeks. tom vilsack says forced cuts would result in a loss of two billion pounds of meat, three billion pounds of poultry and 200 million pounds of eggs. vilsack is already worried that store also try to sell unchecked meat illegally. don't be just wary of that but be watching for higher prices at the supermarket. one thing we need to make sure that we remember, wolf, is that these cuts are just estimates. this morning i spoke to top senate officials who say there are smarter cuts that the white house could be making as far as health care is concerned. there's a $7 billion slush fund in obama care. they could use that as opposed to some cuts to the national institutes of health. wolf? >> erin mcpike, thanks. joe johns and rene marsh, thanks to you. rand paul says these forced
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budget cuts simply don't go far enough. i'm going to be speaking with him later about it. i'm filling in for anderson cooper on ac 360 right here on cnn. much more coming up here in "the situation room" as well. meanwhile, a surprise announcement by president obama. the man who led allied forces in afghanistan is retiring from the united states military. the marine corps john allen was on track to become nato's next supreme commander but he's stepping down because of health issues in his family. the president calls general allen one of america's finest military leaders. now he will retire. let's get to one of the most daring robberies we've seen in some time. thieves dressed as police broke into an airport in europe, got into a plane's cargo hold, and got away with some $50 million in diamonds. cnn's tom foreman has the details which sound straight out of a film from hollywood.
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what happened here, tom? >> you're right, wolf. here's brussels, belgian, and this is what happened. this airplane was getting ready to leave from the airport for a short little flight over to zurich. what they didn't know at that time is that two vehicles with eight robbers, according to authorities, were cutting a fence down here and getting on to airport property. they came streaking up, driving right across the airport here, all the way up to the plane, and in three minutes time with guns drawn, they managed to take away more than 100 packages from this plane and they came streaking back the same way they went and they were back outside. now, there are huge questions about when the alarm sounded and why it didn't sound further. we do know the passengers didn't even realize it was happening because it happened very quickly without a single fire shot. we know what happened next.
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out into the city they went. this is where it gets quite fascinating. once they came out of the airport, somewhere down around here, look at all of the art rarelies that they could have gone to. if you think about it, just driving 30 miles per hour in five minutes they could have been beyond that radius in almost any direction, wolf. it's been an extraordinary story of how they were organized, the whole thing from beginning to end took about 11 minutes and then they were gone without a trace. they found a burned out vehicle that they think is connected to this but they don't know if it was the direction they went or anything else. the bottom line is, the diamonds are gone. if you want a sense of what $50 million in diamonds looks like, take a look at this. this bag has half a million small diamonds in it. if you want to have $50 million worth of diamonds, what you have to have is that many bags full of diamonds like that. so it's an extraordinary robbery
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but getting rid of it, wolf, will be the real challenge because the simple truth is, selling diamonds is incredibly difficult when they are stolen, especially in this volume. that may be the bigger challenge for these diamond thieves as they try not to get caught in this large, daring robbery. >> very daring indeed. we're going to go toll brussels later and speak to our own dan rivers. he's on the scene at that airport right now. other news we're following, including an olympic star appearing in court today facing murder charges. oscar pistorius tells his version of how his girlfriend was killed. and the newtown shooter said, and i'm quoting now, said to be obsessed with mass murderers. up next, chilling new details in this very tragic case. hey, our salads. [ bop ] [ bop ] [ bop ] you can do that all you want, i don't like v8 juice. [ male announcer ] how about v8 v-fusion.
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it's been just over two months since the massacre at the sandy hook elementary school in newtown, connecticut. during all that time, we've never really gotten a significant answer to the key question, why? today, finally we're getting a our very first clues as to what the gunman might have been thinking. here's our national correspondent susan candiotti. susan? >> hi, wolf. you know, police say we're trying to rebuild history because in this case the shooter is dead. what was going on in adam lanza's mind? what drove him to kill so many innocent children, teachers, even his own mother? lanza was quoting here, obsessed with mass murderers, a source with knowledge of the investigation tells cnn. and the source adds, there's alleged evidence to back it up. one of those mass murderers, according to cbs and the hartford cower rant courans is
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andres who killed in os low unlike lanza, he was caught and convicted. one theory is that lanza idolized brave vick and wanted to out do his body count. his targets, childrens and teachers were in a confined area. apparently there may be some evidence to, in part, back up a possible obsession with brayvick. investigators found several stories about the norway murders in the lanza's bedroom. he was in to violent video games and played them in a game room in his house. lanza and his mother went to several gun ranges. authorities have said she kept her guns in a lock box but some of those guns were used to kill her and the 26 children and teachers at sandy hook elementary. the hartford courant say that
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connecticut police went to washington to share their theories with the authorities. the fbi is still trying to retrieve information from the hard drive in his computer. he smashed it before launching his massacre. will we ever truly know what went on in lanza's mind? the connecticut police say wait for their final report in a few months. wolf? >> it might come out by june. let's see. susan, what are the state police saying right now about the new information that appears to be emerging? >> well, wolf, last night police called the reports pure speculation and added that they are looking at everything. today, media reports, including ours, are not quoting sources by name and so police say, therefore, all of these stories they call unsubstantiated. i did talk to a representative for lanza's father and brother but they have no comment. >> susan candiotti, thanks very much. a five-year high on wall treat today. we're going to have the closing numbers for you and a big reason
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the history making day on wall street. take a look at that. lisa sylvester is monitoring some of the other top stories in "the situation room" right now. lisa, huge numbers on wall street. over 14,000. record high for five years at least. i remember at one point it was 6500, i believe. a few month after the president took office. 6500 and now 14,000. >> yeah. i'm sure a lot of people are happy to see those numbers and there was plenty of clapping when the closing bell rang today.
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the s&p closed at the highest point in five years. the dow closed at just under 14,036. it's still about 130 points short of its all-time high. reports of a possible merger between office max and office depot drove today's gains. and nobody was in danger but nasa lost contact with the international space station for about three hours today. this is something that we all could probably relate to the reason why. it was caused by a computer problem while engineers were uploading and installing some new software. the space station has other computers to plug in and everything has been fixed. attention you 300 million hotmail users. your days of seeing this screen is going to change. by the end of summer, your screen will look like this. microsoft officially finished testing
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not only will hotmail users be moved over, microsoft is planning a google e-mail which has as many as three times as many users. imagine you're a university student who gets free tuition if you or someone you know makes a basket from half-court. one student just thought, i'll ask the team's basketball coach. was it a good choice? we'll take a look. this happened last friday at brandon university in canada. look at that celebration. how about that, free tuition for that student? not bad. not bad at all. >> i want to check out to see if when he threw the ball his foot was over the line.
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let's see. >> i thought it was on the line. on the line. i'm going with on the line. i'm sticking with that. >> i'm going to go with the student. >> i'm going with the student, too. on the line. it counts. give that kid free tuition. >> i wonder kwha the ref would have said. whatever it was, it was a good shot. >> i loved it. >> thanks very much. still ahead, another dangerous turn in syria's civil war. we have new details emerging about a sudden increase in scud missile attacks. and up next, the man known as the "blade runner" said he didn't intentionally kill his girlfriend. his version of the story right after the break. [ laughing ] [ barking ] ♪ come on, boy! [ barks ] ♪ oh, heavenly day here we go. ♪ cha-cha-cha ♪ don't you know that i love ya ♪ ♪ cha-cha-cha-cha-cha ♪ always thinking of ya
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he's gone from inspirational olympic athlete to accused
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killer. south africa's oscar pistorius was in jail for a bail hearing while a funeral was held for the girlfriend that he's charged of murdering. he told his version of how she died revealed for the first time. cnn is following all of this for us from johan ne johannesburg. wheals the latest there? >> reporter: by, wolf. whatever happened on that bloody valentine's morning. we're getting some indication, a little more information on the story at least from oscar pistorius. we're hearing his versions of the events for the first time. take a listen to this. as oscar pistorius arrived for his bail hearing, his brother and family joined him to give him support. journalists jostled to get inside the small courtroom and officials seemed unable to cope with the huge media interest.
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and outside, a group of protesters are calling for an end to violence against women. but inside the court, the state argued and persuaded the magistrate that mi magistra magistrate that pistorius should be charged with premeditated murder. and we can show you how startled, scared, alone knee oscar pistorius looked. he cried or sobbed throughout the bail hearing. despite the presence of his family. mi pistorius looked so different from this athlete who broke stare row types to run in the olympics despite being a double amputee. he condititinued, though, to breakdown. this is a shortened version of pistorius's version of the story. i woke up went to the balcony to get the fan and close the sliding doors. i heard a noise in the bathroom. i felt a sense of terror rushing
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over me. there was no burglar bars across the bathroom window. i grabbed my 9 millimeter pistol from underneath my bed and i screamed to get out of my house and for reeva to phone the police. it was pitch dark in the bedroom and i thought reeva was in the bed. i called for reeva to phone the police. when i reached the bed, i realized reeva was not in the bed. that's when it dawned on nea it could have been reeva who was in the toilet. i found the key and opened the bathroom door. reeva was slumped over but alive. later in the affidavit, pistorius says she died in my arms. reeva's last moments will no doubt be further examined on wednesday during the second day of the bail hearing as the state tries to reinforce why they don't believe his version of events and why oscar pistorius should be kept in jail until a
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trial. and he's in jail again tonight. he's been there since that incident last week and many people watching that today saw a man who's really struggling with that deed that he did on valentine's day morning and of course many south africans very sad today as reeva steenkamp was laid to rest. >> was there any history, robyn, of violence between these two? >> well, there was comment. in fact, there was a witness statement put out by the defense team from reeva's best friend in court today and in it she said that reeva had said to her, even though that her and oscar had only been dating since november, reeva had told her that if oscar had asked her to marry him, she would have said yes. so they were painting the picture of a happy couple, a couple who felt that they had found the one and also in the affidavit, this affidavit that
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oscar put out today, he tells a story about how the night before valentine's they decided not to go out with friends, they wanted to stay at home alone, she did yoga, they watched tv and went to bed early and also, sadly, she is said that she had a valentine's day present for him and made him promise to only open it the next day on valentine's day. now, be no word on where that present is, is now, is it in evidence or is it still in the house waiting for oscar to open it? >> lots of unanswered questions. thanks very much, robyn curnow in johan nas berg. jeff, does it surprise you to hear that this statement is given to the police, so soon, so publicly? what did you make of it? >> i thought it was an absolutely crazy thing to do, to commit a defendant in a murder case to a very specific set of stories when he doesn't know
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what the forensic evidence shows. the autopsy evidence, how the bullets entered her body. and frankly, the story on its face is pretty pro pest rouse, it seems to me. the fact that he never said, reeva, is that you and instead just started blasting away in the bathroom, it really does strain frudility. >> so what are the questions you have in hearing pistorius' defense because he's now laid out what his defense is going to be? >> certainly the forensic evidence is going to be the most important. how many times was the gunfired? where did the bullets hit reeva? was she struck only through the door? was she struck before she went in the door? what were the surrounding circumstances? it's all well and good that he says their relationship was wonderful. but as we know, from far too many domestic violence homicides, that often is the first reaction but then you learn more about the relationship. i mean, there is all the
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forensic evidence, all the relationship evidence and at this point, all we know is that reeva's dead and pistorius has told this story. >> we also know that pistorius' actions in court today were dramatic. he was seen sobbing and heaving and may have an impact on the judge but the public as well? >> it could. but you're talking about a trial that is likely month away. sure. why was he crying? is he crying because he's sad that reeva's dead? is he crying because he's sorry he's in so much trouble? i think the evidence is going to matter a lot more than his initial reaction in court. >> you think he'll get out on bail or will he go to jail? >> well, i don't want to present myself as an expert on south african law but the research i've been able to do suggests that it's very unlikely that in a case of premeditated murder a defendant in south africa is
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going to get out on bail. so based on what i know so far, and it's far from complete, i don't think he's going anywhere, at least for the foreseeable future. >> the argument i've heard from some south africans who live in the johannesburg where this is high crime rate, gated communities and extensive security, he said in that affidavit that had he been threatened before. he had a pistol underneath his bed. he was always worried about his own security, about being robbed. when he heard these noises, he just jumped into action. some folks say that makes sense given the nature of the violence, the potential dangers to him in that area of johannesburg. what do you make of that defense? >> well, certainly johannesburg does have a lot of crime and there's no doubt that people are very sensitive to it. but i think you need to evaluate step by step what he did. he didn't notice that she wasn't in the bed? that's odd. how dark was the room? i mean, perhaps it was dark but
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it doesn't take a lot of light to see someone is not next to you who used to be there and then this story of going in the bathroom, through one door and then shooting through another without ever asking who's there, without waiting for someone to say, without reeva saying, don't shoot me? i mean, it just -- it seems implausible to me. but, look, this is why we have trials. this is why police and defense attorneys collect evidence and we'll see what the evidence shows. >> we certainly will. jeffrey, thanks very much. it's been just seven weeks since moscow banned americans from adopting russian children and a texas case is likely to make efforts to overturn that ban even harder. cnn's phil black has the latest from the russian capital. >> this story is getting huge coverage here and russian officials are using very heated language when talking about the circumstances surrounding the death of 3-year-old max shadow. they refer to him by his russian
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name. the russian authority says he died as abusive treatment. they say he was severely beaten and drug over a long period of time and hope whoever is responsible will be punished severely. in russia's parliament, there was a moment for this young boy follow bid a series of passionate speeches by politicians claiming his death proves they were absolutely justified in passing legislation banning u.s. nationals from adopting any more russian children. they did that at the end of last year. partly in response to u.s. legislation, targeting russian human rights abusers. but also because of concerns held for a long time here by russian officials who say they are worried about the way russian orphans are treated in the united states. supporters of the adoption ban claim since the 1990s 19 other russian children have died after being adopted by americans. the russian government says it is very concerned about the welfare of russian orphans and
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says 60,000 have are been adopted over the last 20 years. the adoption ban is one of the key reasons why relations between the united states and russia are the worst that they have been in a long time. a line of politicians here and officials have responded to the death of this 3-year-old boy by effectively saying, we told you so. phil black, cnn, russia. european scandal over mislabeled meat keeps getting big der. details of the latest recall foods where traces of horse meat turn turned up in products that are supposed to contain beef. ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] don't just reject convention. drown it out. introducing the all-new 2013 lexus ls f sport. an entirely new pursuit.
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we don't want to really spoil your dinner but just
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imagine if the beef raf vee oldly did not contain beef but also contained horse meat. that's all you need to know about a meat packing scandal going on in europe right now. it's only in europe but new recalls keep being announced. lisa sylvester is here. she's got more on what is going o on. what is going on? >> wolf, we keep hearing more and more about this. processed meat being sold as beef that tests show was really horse meat and that is just the beginning. scientists in germany are unwrapping these frozen lasagna looking for traces of horse meat. european processed meat products marketed as containing only beef actually including some horse meat. authorities in ireland last month tested 27 beef patties.
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37% of them testing positive for horse dna. >> it's completely wrong that any consumer should buy a product labeled as processed beef and find it contains something else. >> and now a household brand is involved in the scandal. nestle's european operations indicated that traces of horse dna, the company is voluntarily recalling the products. in a statement, nestle says there is no food safety issue but the mislabeling of products means they fair to meet the very high standards consumers pekt from us. the two products are sold in u.s. supermarkets but nestle says they use different products used here in the united states than europe. tony is with a watchdog group. he says american consumers shouldress rest assured that there's little chance of horse meat ending up in the u.s. food
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supply because of a ban on beef. >> probably not getting any beef at all from europe because we still ban their beef because of the mad cow outbreak that europe suffered in the '80s and '90s. >> and in 2007, the last horse slaughter house for human consumption in the united states closed down. but the scandal does point to a larger issue. europe's beef suppliers have been hoping that u.s. officials lift the ban on the products here in the u.s. the dialogue was beginning to bring meat into the united states and now people hear this. is it going to hurt their chances? >> i think it's going to hurt their chances. i know that president obama announced during his state of the union address he wants to open into a free trade agreement with the european union. this is probably going to come up as an issue, that europe is probably going to want to export more food into the united states but this is going to probably put a damper in terms of meat
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product. >> now, the uk and french authorities have launched a criminal investigation. in fact, three british citizens have been arrested at one company and charged with fraud. authorities saying that the supervisors should have known by the smell and appearance that it wasn't beef, that it was actually horse meat that they were using, wolf. in some places horse meat is actually considered a delicacy. >> i know. >> the key thing s. you have to label it. you have to tell people that's what you're eating. >> i remember being on a trip in the '90s to kazarian zik stan and all my colleagues and other journalists were on the trip eating away, some kind of goulash and i just asked what kind of meat is that and they said, just eat it, it's delicious. we got a waiter over. somebody spoke russian and all of these reporters are eating this, delicious, delicious, having a little glass of wine
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and then finally they said, what kind of beef -- what kind of meat is this? and the waiter said, it's horse meat. as soon as it came out, some who spoke russian started spitting out their food. >> so you had the horse meat, then? >> i didn't eat it. i learned -- i always ask going to these countries what kind of meat is that and that's not the first time i was told horse meat. certain places in north korea where i visited a couple years ago, there was some mysterious stuff going on. >> that's when you say, thanks but no thanks. >> right. i'm a vegetarian. i'll stick to that. thanks so much. not really a vegetarian. vice president joe biden became pretty animated during a town hall meeting on guns today. listen to how he answered a question parents magazine readers submitted on facebook. >> kate earnest has the next question. she asks, do you believe that banning certain weapons and high-capacity magazines will mean that law-abiding citizens will become more of a target to criminals as we will have no way
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to sufficiently protect ourselves. this comes up again and again. >> is this parents magazine? >> it is. >> i've never heard anybody in parents magazine ask these questions but i'm delighted to answer them. first of all, the idea that -- repeat the last part of the question, please. >> so she's asking if a ban goes into effect on certain kinds of weapons and high-capacity magazines. >> and what's her name? >> kate. >> kate, if you want to protect yourself, get a double barrel shotgun, have the shells of a 12-gauge shotgun and i promise you, as i told my wife, i said, if there's ever a problem, just walk out on the balcony here, put that double barrel shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house. i promise you, whoever coming in -- you don't need an ar-15. it's harder to aim. it's harder to use. and, in fact, you don't need 30
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rounds to protect yourself. buy a shotgun. buy a shotgun. >> advice from the vice president of the united states. asked for objections that gun restrictions violate the amendment, he said it's okay to restrict some weapons. otherwise, people could buy their own military weapons and even tanks. we're seeing reports that the u.s. may change its policy towards giving weapons to the anti-government rebels in syria. coming up, one possible reason why. the syrian regime is firing more scud missiles at its enemies. so now i can be in the scene. advair is clinically proven to help significantly improve lung function. unlike most copd medications, advair contains both an anti-inflammatory and a long-acting bronchodilator working together to help improve your lung function all day. advair won't replace fast-acting inhalers for sudden symptoms
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a deadly wave of scud
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missiles struck syria's second largest city. dozens of people have been killed in multiple towns in recent days in aleppo. barbara, what are you hearing about scud missile and taxes in syria? >> wolf, be officials are telling us that eight scud missiles fired from the damascus area north of aleppo. the stories are merging from syria. massive destruction in the city. people being rescued out of the wreckage. why are the syrians doing this, of course? the opposition is now strong enough that assad's helicopters, his aircraft are at risk of being shot down. this missile activity allows them to attack deep into northern syria without the risk of being shot down but the real problem, wolf, besides the deep tragedy for the people of syria just across the border, turkey. a nato ally. u.s. patriot missiles are
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already on station there, ready to defend turkey if these scud missiles cross the border and should land inside that country. but certainly stepped up activity in recent days, wolf. >> there was a story in the "new york times" today, wolf barbara, that president obama may be rethinking his opposition to arming the rebels? what's going on? >> wolf f. the "new york times" is quoting an admission official that it's not a closed issue, be that they may revisit the issue of arming the rebels. i've talked to a number of our sources and what they are indicating is that if, if there was some notion that you had a better sense of who the opposition was and that they really weren't able to control whatever weapons they get, that might give you some room to take take another look at it. the issue about arming the rebels has always been who are they, who do they really represent and if you were to give them arms, how would you know that those arms wouldn't
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then go to other elements working inside syria, especially some of the al qaeda affiliates that have emerged in recent months, could they possibly get their hands on any u.s.-supplied weapons. that's always been the big stopper in all of this, wolf. >> thank you very much, barbara starr at pentagon. up next here in "the situation room," a feud involving the actor alec baldwin and a new york post photographer. there's different versions about what happened. that's coming up next. the ones with the strong shoulder to lean on, the ones we're named after, and the ones named after us. it takes all kinds of good to make a family. at new york life, everything we do is to help you keep good going.
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then you're going to love this. right now they're only $14.95! wow-a grt deal just got a whole lot better. hurry. $14.95 won't last. here's a look at this hour's hot shots. in new york, thousands line the streets to mark the year of the snake at the festival last sunday. in bali, a beautiful sunset over the water. in california, paragliders come in for a landing over the beach. send in your photos to this is more like a script from the hatfields and the mccoys. but actor alec baldwin and a photographer are in a feud.
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what's happening? >> alec baldwin has a history of overreacting and this time it's with a photographer. the nypd is summing up an incident, alec baldwin's race slant t happened outside the east village home. according to the paper, which says it stands by its story, "the post" reporter and photographer were trying to get a comment involving baldwin's pregnant wife. he became aggressive, grabbing the reporter by the arm and then launching into a tirade against the veteran photographer, alleging calling him a crackhead, drug dealer, and a racially derogatory word. the photographer, a former narcotics detective, apparently tried to calm baldwin down by
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showing him his retired cop i.d. and baldwin called him a fake and took it to a twitter page saying that can't be. e-nnpd don't become crackhead ex-jailhouse paparazzi. also, moments after i tweet about the "post," ralston" shows up with a niece in tow. baldwin calls the allegations completely false and describes the alleged racial slur as one of the most outrage shous things i've heard in my life. but the actor's "30 rock" cast mate says, if true, baldwin needs to apologize. >> if so, i think he should be dealt with and made to apologize. >> nypd spokesman confirms both baldwin and the photographer filed harassment charges against one another. baldwin is known for his hot tempered reactions to the paparazzi once using the twitter
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hash tag, all paparazzi should be waterboarded. this photo was taken when baldwin went to apply for his marge license last june. baldwin accused the photographer of bumping him with his lens. this is not his first run-in with a "post" reporter either. his ongoing columnists seem to get to him. he says his charitable contributions have given to africans in the past and the issue is not with the paper but with the photographer. wolf? >> deborah feyerick, thanks so much. you're in "the situation room." happening now, a secret chinese military group allegedly in this building built for hacking government agencies. she's not even a senate candidate yet. why is the actress ashley judd already being hit with a political attack ads. and a man on a christian
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dating website is charged with raping a woman he meant online. police fear there may be other victims. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." a secret chinese army unit is being tied to a massive cyber spying campaign. a study released today says dozens of organizations have been hit worldwide. the targets, according to various reports, coca-cola, rsa, a security company known for its secure i.d. token, and most frightening, potentially, a software firm that gives remote access to pipeline and power grids across the united states.
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our brian todd is looking into all of this. what's going on? >> it's the first of its kind to tie a campaign to a specific unit of the chinese military. it says that secretive units responsible for thousands of hacks against more than 100 companies in north america. it's a dreary looking 12-story office building in shanghai but according to a new report, it houses part of a shadowy military unit responsible for thousands of hacks into american businesses and government agencies. the report from the cybersecurity firm mandiant says it goes by code names like unit 63198 and the comment crew and a secret division of the chinese military. >> what are they stealing? >> that's a great question. and it actually sort of depends on industry. but at the end of the day, it's hard to eliminate anything. it's word documents, power point documents, excel, spreadsheets.
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>> it gets more ominous. chinese hackers in general, he wouldn't say this specific unit, have targeted vital american services. we got more specific information. cyber security researchers say that the military unit trains its attack on infrastructure on north america, electrical grids like this one, oil and gas facilities, water and treatment plants. one researcher told us last september a company that designs software giving oil and gas companies and power grid operators access to things like valves and switches was successfully hacked by that military unit. that firm, telv are ent, says it is working with customers and law enforcement. even though information may have been hacked on utilities, none have been disabled. the typical hack starts with spear phishing and e-mail sent to a company official in the u.s., masquerading itself as being someone familiar. the victim opens an attachment or zip file and their computer is infected.
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mandiant says they tracked this for six years. how? they would monitor the infected computers of victims who hired his firm and go back click by click. >> we saw somebody log in to the victim network here in the united states and then check their gmail account. law enforcement would call this a wire tap. we call it full content monitoring. >> the chinese government has blacked out some of cnn's reporting on this story as it emphatically denies hacking. >> making baseless accusations based on premature analysis is irresponsible and unprofessional and doesn't help solve relevant issues. china resolutely pro-hibt prop hibts hacking. >> the white house is taking steps to strengthen computer networks, protect infrastructure and confront senior officials about hacking.
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dianne feinstein says she has raised this with chinese officials and says they are in denial. wolf. >> brian, there's a downside to mandiant going public with its findings? >> that's right. its own techniques are more effective if the attackers do not know about them. it says once the chinese hackers read all of this, it's going to be harder to track all of them. >> brian todd, thanks very much. let's get firsthand what is going on with this investigation of chinese hacking. kevin mandia, the ceo of mandian t is here. thanks for coming in. >> will it be harder to deal with these hackers? >> they've anchored themselves into certain behaviors. i feel confident, because a lot of companies have dealt with them for so long, if we change their behaviors, we're giving them a mike tyson upper cut with three 3 thou2,0 3,000 indicatort
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out today. i think we'll be able to predict what they do. >> what is the worst case scenario? what's the worst that they can do? >> they've actually had words of engagement, meaning they steel intellectual property. what i haven't seen them do is destroy computers systems or make data unavailable. right now they are stealing things but it's still in tact for the victim companies to use and access. >> is there sort of an understanding among international hackers, government agencies, if you will, don't go too far? >> well, i think that one of the reasons we've tolerated this for as long as we did is because there wasn't destruction but what we're seeing right now is some other nation states starting to move towards destructive-base attacks. >> which ones? >> iran is one of the countries that is also more destructive should they break in. they have a different rule of engagement. >> what a viewer watching right
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now here or around the world, in the united states or around the world, what could they do? potentially are they at risk? >> not really. the groups of the threat actors that we track, they hack american company cans. they are not interested -- well, in your case, they might be interested in you and what you do but they are not interested in sole individuals, unless you're high worth in some capacity. the biggest concern is organizations that have innovation and lot of i.p. >> how difficult is it for a hack tore steal someone's information? i'll give you an example. a year or so ago i was speaking to a high-level u.s. intelligence official who said to me, when he goes to china, he doesn't even take a laptop with him because he's fearful the stuff on that laptop could be stole zen right. if you go to china, most firms i deal with have throwaways. they throw it away when they come back. even throwaway laptops. nobody's going there with one device and coming back and
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maintains its use. >> because if you go there, what potentially could happen? you go there with your blackberry, smartphone, walk us through the problems that could develop. if you're targeted, let's say. >> if you're targeted, the thing is, the attackers only do the type of attacks that are successful. so if someone is not really good at attacking you and can't succeed, generally the b. team will come in. if the b. team is not successful, then we see the a. team. access to your device is access to your information and that's been the rule of thumb, high level diplomats and executives when they go to china, they aren't using that eipment when they return. >> in other words, they just throw it away? >> absolutely. >> they go in well a clean smartphone a. clean laptop or ipad or whatever and then there's no information on the hard drive or whatever that potentially could be damaging? >> that's kpangtexactly right. >> a lot of people you know do that? >> absolutely. >> that's the advice i got when
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i went there as well. i didn't know how serious it is. walk us through the coke ka coal lark the hacking on coca-cola. >> i can't comment specifically on coca-cola. what i can do is tell you what the threat actors normally do. if you do mergers and acquisitions in china, it's very common that a specific group will attack you. you go to the m & a and those are are the folks targeted. >> because they are looking for negotiations a if they can steal what they think it is. >> absolutely. >> kevin, thanks so much for coming in. >> kevin mandia is ceo of mandiant. another chilling day in court for the olympic "blade runner" oscar pistorius who detail wh detail what happened in the moments before she was killed. lisa, what's the latest? >> wolf, in a statement read by
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his lawyer at the bond hearing, pistorius says he thought an intruder was in the house that night. not wearing his prosthetic lights and too afraid to turn on the lights, he moved towards the bathroom and fired into the door. it was only after he called for his girlfriend who he thought was still in bed that he realized something was wrong. he then he said he broke down the door at one point using a bat. he picked her up and carried her downstairs. the prosecutors are disputing that claim. his girlfriend was laid to rest today. in other news, a source tells cnn that investigators have evidence that adam lanza was obsessed with other mass murderers. he may have been trying to outdo the man behind the 2011 norway massacre that killed 77 people. connecticut state police dismissed that report but didn't deny investigators may have looked at the norway shooting.
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a final report on newtown is expected this summer. transocean deepwater intorp corporated will pay $1 billion for the oil spill in the gulf of mexico. last week, transocean was ordered to pay $400 million fine. that's the second largest in u.s. history for a criminal violation of the clean water act. a separate trial to determine the cause of the accident is set to begin on monday. and the cash-strapped u.s. postal service is is making an unlikely jump into the clothing and accessory business. announcing a new line that it plans to call rain, heat, and snow. the unofficial motto has been licensed to a cleveland-based company which will design and finance it. the new line could generate new revenue for the postal service which just reported a $1.3 billion loss for the end of 2012.
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i for one will be curious to see what it looks like. we know the name rain, heat, and snow. >> what you're saying is, you can go to the post office and in addition to buying a roll of stamps, you can buy a new outfit? is that what you're saying? >> yeah. i'm guessing with the name it might be jackets, maybe some outerwear, something like that. certainly it's a novel idea to help the postal service and they certainly could use the money right now. >> a yeah. maybe they will be doing coffee over there. who knows. >> yes. >> thanks very much. much more news coming up, including dire warnings about drastic cuts, painful forced spending cuts that could soon sweep across the federal government. we're going to tell what you it potentially means for you. eight picture that a lot of people have been waiting for, a pregnant catherine duchess of cambridge.
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the federal government will be hit by automatic force spending cuts totalling $85 billion through the end of this year. the cuts were meant to be painful, so painful, in fact, congress would be forced to compromise. president obama added to the drumbeat of warnings today. >> these cuts are not smart, they are not fair, they will hurt our economy, they will add hundreds of thousands of americans to the unemployment roll. people will lose their jobs. the unemployment rate might tick up again. >> cnn chief national correspondent john king is looking at the impact that we can expect from these cuts. >> webster defines sequester as to set apart or segregate. in washington, it's a fancy word for spending cuts.
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an example of political leaders in both parties are failing to do their most recent job. >> they have doubled down on the cuts i've outlined. >> here's what will happen. $85 billion in federal budget cuts kick in. that's 9% of nondefense spending and 13% of the pentagon budget over the next seven months. what's protected? medicare and social security. so are medicaid and food stamps, military personnel and the v.a. are examined. most federal agencies would make cuts and the white house warns, among other things, furloughs of the fbi, border patrol, and food safety inspections. the president says vital government services would suffer and the economy would weaken. republicans say agencies have had plenty of warning and it's past time the government joins the american families in making tough budget choices. a couple of facts amid the washington blame game. while the president rails against the cuts now, the idea
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for this deadline was his. two years ago the president believed the cuts would pressure republicans into a big deficit brand bargain. yes, this all may sound familiar. after all, it's been 16 years since the country had a real budget. but this president and this republican opposition are taking washington's dysfunction and trust deficit to new levels. >> john king joins me now along with white house correspondent jessica yellin and gloria borger. john, do both sides see a sense of urgency in these last ten days? >> i would argue no. publicly, yes. you hear the president saying, let's get a deal. the president hasn't picked up the phone and called speaker boehner or mcconnell in recent days. i wonder if joe biden goes up to the senate and they say, no, there's been no such treaty and mcconnell and the senate say they are not going to do that this time. publicly you're going to hear, especially from the white house, how horrible this is.
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privately both sides seem to think they get at least short term political gain here. >> gloria, you wrote a column obama can't kick his legacy down the rhododendron. a draconian plan designed to force the two sides to get together is too weak to do that. and what does that tell us? more about the collapse of the political process than it does about the merits of any budgets cuts. so is anybody taking responsibility for this? >> no. of course not. as john pointed out, this was something that was hatched by all of them, voted on by all of them, and now they are saying, you know what, privately, okay, in the short term liberal democrats are saying, you know what, we are not going to get defense cuts any better than these and conservative republicans are saying 5% across the board on domestic spending, i'm down with that. i can live with that and then what they've got coming up, which will be the big pr problem for them is, of course, closing
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down the government at the end of march, march 27th. they are all worried about that. right now in the short term they figure that they can each get some political pluses out of this. so they've be a indicated completely, wolf. >> what's the plan for all of this? what is the president planning on doing as he did today? >> well, he's using the bully pulpit to wage war. first, it's the picture. we're going to see more events like we did today, the president standing in front of the kind of people who will lose their jobs when these cuts go into effect and he'll say it's all the republican's fault and then in addition to the picture, there's the message, the timing. he started this conversation on his own while congress is out of session. he gets to dominate the microphone and he gets to argue that the debate should be on his terms, which means the ultimate deal should include tax
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increases and that's what democrats want. republicans don't. >> do you mean to tell me that the white house honestly believes that republicans, having six weeks ago voted for tax increases, that they honestly believe that republicans six weeks later are going to say, okay, yeah, bring on more tax increases? >> i know. they are in two different universes on this but the answer is yes. the white house will say that at this point in the discussion about the fiscal cliff, republicans thought there is no way we're going to do tax increases, no give, and that ultimately they did and they say it will happen again this time, they insist on tax increases. >> this is an opportunity for the president and politically he thinks he has the upper hand. >> he does. and if you look at the public opinion data you will see what he support the balanced approach. that polls quite well. the american people blame congress and specifically republicans in congress for where we are right now, yes, you can find polling data. there's no question and the president has the bully pulpit. >> more popular. >> more popular.
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no question he does. in you're a second-term president and whole idea is looking towards a legacy, if the economy teeters again, if the unemployment rate goes up, less money coming into washington, he could win in the short term and lose in the long term if they don't get a deal and the economy heads south. >> you can kick the can down the road when it comes to the forced spending cuts but you can't kick your legacy down the road. if he wants to get something done on everything else, on immigration, even on the government shutdown on -- >> on guns? >> on guns, energy, climate, he has to figure out a way to talk to these people and, you know, you talk to people in the white house, they argue that they are not going to talk until they start seeing -- that the republicans aren't negotiating and there's no point in time and the president is personally concerned about the budget cuts
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and if there's going to be any job growth, they can't let this go on too long. >> pick up the phone. if the president is that concerned, pick up the phone. they said at the white house, you know what, you people in the media believe that there's a myth and there's a myth which is essentially that if the president picked up the phone, john boehner would come to the table and get things done. that's not going to happen. but my point is, just try it. >> this is our third consecutive two-term president. they have all known this generational ticking time bomb of the social security and medicare out there. bush loft public support because of the iraq war and katrina. this president, republican, democrat, doesn't matter. they owe it to the country to deal with something that's been kicked and kicked and kicked and the longer you kick it, the bigger the problem and the harder it is to get fixed. >> they should do come premen sif immigration reform and comprehensive tax reform,
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comprehensive entitlement, deal with social security, medicare, medicaid, deal with taxes, get rid of those loopholes, those e deductions and then they could work on a grand scheme. >> the closure of the loopholes now when -- >> republicans are never going to agree to that. >> they disagree. i know it sounds absurd politically but the white house is convinced, the president is convinced that they will give on that, they will close the loopholes. >> some republicans will. but the majority of the republicans in the house of representatives -- >> the president has won on the other fights. le win on this, too. >> we will figure it out. thanks very much. most americans will see the ways. 57 ways the sequester could sting. coming up, an alleged rape. the latest horror story in online dating. the website that you may least
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in an age where millions of people are going online to find dates, there are plenty of horror stories which includes a website you would not expect. let's go to miguel marquez. he's following this story for us. what happened? >> a california man has been charged with rape after authorities say he preyed on a woman on the dating website >> kristchristian mingle brough wife and i together. >> the promise of life, of a
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relationship. >> it's exciting to see who's out there, who's interested in you. >> police say, this man, shawn banks, preyed on a woman in la mesa meeting her on, gaining her confidence. >> the victim was comfortable enough to invite him to her residence. >> an online dating no-no. she only knew him by his online name, rarity. not only rarity but rylan, rylan harbough and butterwood. all profiles on oh the christian mingle website using information that will make it difficult to track him. >> this individual traveled around a lot and we are concerned that are people outside of la mesa or outside of san diego county that could be a victim. >> banks, who worked in naval n
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intelligence, was honorably discharged in 2003. he has ties to north carolina, south carolina, texas, virginia, and michigan, possibly doing i.t. computer work after leaving the navy. sparks network, the owner of christ mingle and other websites says it's fully cooperating with police and as far as the millions of profiles on its websites go, the spokesperson says it has experts manually review all profile content and photos and has developed several proprietary automated tools to ensure the highest level of safety and privacy for our communities. now, i also want to show that you on their website, when you go to sign up at it, they say that they do not perform background checks on the members or subscribers to the website. mr. banks has pled not guilty to the charges and is currently free on $500,000 bond. wolf? >> obviously an extreme case. is it isolated? are there more examples of these kinds of allegations?
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or is this something totally, totally rare? >> well, certainly where there are -- there's a lot of websites where allegations have been made before. many famous ones out there. this particular authority is believing that mr. bank may have prey preyed on women in other states. they are not entirely sure that he used another website other than christian mingle. they are wanting to get the press attention to see if any more victims come forward. i got off the phone with police and so far no other victims at the moment. we do understand, though, that his preliminary hearing is coming up on the 14th of march. this process is moving along. >> cautionary tale for everyone on these websites. be careful. don't rush into things like that and check everything out. miguel marquez, thanks very much. up next, a war of words on immigration reform between senator marco rubio and the
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there's been a war of words between senator marco rubio and the white house over immigration reform and just how much contact the obama administration has had with the florida senator. but now there's new information. the white house has issued a statement saying that the president called senators rubio, john mccain, and lindsey graham today to discuss can a shared commitment to, quote, bipartisan commonsense immigration reform and to commend the senators for bipartisan progress. let's discuss what's going on in our strategy session. joining us, our cnn contributors, paul begala and ana navarro. senator mccain, senator graham
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on this issue, how key is it? >> you know, it's key that it happened. i'm glad that it finally happened. frankly, though, it's mind blowing. it's amazing that it's taking this long for it to happen and that it's taken a leap. you've got a white house that has shown tremendous dysfunctionality this week. first of all, there was a leak of a bill that was drafted unilaterally without seeking any input from any of the republicans. they just stopped today. this is weeks after the bill was drafted and days after the bill was leaked. so i'm saying to the white house, if you are serious about passing immigration reform, and i hope you are, you need to coordinate better. there are republicans that are working on this and they need to be part of the formula and be part of the overall strategy. the president has spent more time meeting with hollywood actors on this than he has with republicans who are making the policy. >> how delicate of a dance is this for the white house, paul? did the white house miscalculate
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by not engaging these senate republicans earlier? >> no, not at you will. look, on this one i just disagree. the president's better at the outside game. these republicans only respond when the president brings outside pressure from the american people. that's why it's smart for the president to talk to univision, very smart to call senators rubio, graham, and mccain today because you want to nudge them and support them. but the truth is, you if you want to get republican support for something that president obama supports, it's best for the president to play the outside game instead of the inside game because republicans are so pathological in their hatred for the president. so if he were in the middle of this insider game and meeting with them in a high-profile way, it would actually diminish the chance for real success here. i think the president is handling this absolutely right. keep going, mr. president. you're going to get your bill. >> the supreme court will tackle
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the tricky issue of campaign finance laws. the court could decide to throw out the limits on donations by individuals in federal election campaigns. the challenge comes from an alabama donor supported by the republican committee. the argument is that the strict limits on contributions for individuals violate the first amendment. paul, let's go to you. citizens united, as we all know, had a huge impact on how political races play out. if individual donations can can be limitless, how much of a game changer would that be? >> i think what it would do is almost go back to the time when there were pretty much no loss in regulations. you know, as well as our viewers know, i advised the obama super pac. we under the laws were able to raise unlimited amounts of money. maybe that gives me the perspective to say, i think that the lower court, the d.c. circuit appeals court was right
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when they sustained the current laws which limits the amount of money that people can give to politicians. and interestingly, the court's ruling, the lower court's ruling, the district appeals court for the district of columbia was written by janice brown, appointed by george w. bush. she's nobody's idea of a liberal. i still worry. my fear is that the supreme court is going to continue to allow big money to have a bigger and bigger role in our politics and that's not good. >> why do you think if you do, ana, that this would be a huge financial advantage for the are republicans and it would give them an upper hand? >> i don't know that it would give them an upper hand and i don't know that the current law violates the freedom of speech but it does violate rationale and it does defy logic. it makes very little sense to be able to have unlimited amounts of money and yet have limited caps on what can be given to candidates and party committees who have a lot more scrutiny and
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regulations on how they can spend the money than these super pacs. we have big money in politics already. it's just that it's going to super pacs which, in my view, has helped make the process much more negative because it gives candidates a deniability. >> she's not even a senate candidate yet but ashley judd is already being hit with a barrage of political attack ads. that's just ahead. e usual, bob? not today. [ male announcer ] bob has afib: atrial fibrillation not caused by a heart valve problem, a condition that puts him at greater risk for a stroke. [ gps ] turn left. i don't think so. [ male announcer ] for years, bob took warfarin, and made a monthly trip to the clinic to get his blood tested. but not anymore. bob's doctor recommended a different option: once-a-day xarelto®. xarelto® is the first and only once-a-day prescription blood thinner for patients with afib
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actress ashley judd may be testing the waters but she's still not a candidate for the united states senate in her native kentucky. that hasn't stopped potential
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opponents from attacking this candidate. jim acosta is here in "the situation room" taking a closer look at what is going on. what is going on? >> wolf, first it was karl rove's super pac and now the attacks are coming from the man she may be taking on, senate majority leader mitch mcconnell himself. but one of the relatives is not sure it's smart for her to take it it on. >> i strongly nominate. >> for ashley judd, it's like a bad movie sequel. for the second time this month, the potential kentucky candidate is a target in a political attack ad. >> i can never anticipate what is going to push me over the edge. >> the ad from the man judd may be looking to unseat, mitch mcconnell, debuted days after the movie star met with democratic don nrs in kentucky. they say a judd candidacy could happen. >> she's smart.
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she knows the issues. i think she would be a great candidate. >> judd spent much of her childhood in kentucky. portraits of judd and her mother and sister, both country music stars, all hang in the museum. but judd's grandmother who can still be found in the home where she was raised questions the wisdom of her run. >> she is a hollywood liberal and i say that and that has different meanings for different people. it depends which side of the fence you're on. >> earlier this month, another attack ad from the karl rove super pac american cross roads pointed out the actress lives in tennessee. >> and it just clicked. tennessee is home. >> but judd's toughest hurdle may not be her roots. she still attends basketball games at the university of kentucky. >> i love and am proud of being a hill billy. >> it's that she's a fierce critic of mountain top coal mining, a big industry in the state. >> the fact that the
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appalachians are the appalachians makes this environmental genocide possible. >> as for mcconnell's new tv ad, it appears to be a change in strategy from earlier this month when he said he's not focused on potential democratic rivals. >> i'm not going to start handicapped canning who might be an opponent. >> a mcconnell campaign spokesman denies the dispute that he's worried about a judd candidacy or his re-election, which is still a long way off in 2014 and the mcconnell aide went on to say that the senator is a fan of judd's movies. >> of the movies but not necessarily of her as a potential senate candidate. >> i think that's a safe one to go with. >> jim acosta, thanks very much. let's get back to our panel to discuss what's going on in kentucky and here in washington. democratic strategist paul begala and ana navarro.
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shouldn't he be worried more about the tea party movement that ashley judd challenged? >> i think he's doing just the right thing. he shouldn't be worried about a primary. he should be doing his job. this was a funny ad t was witty. i didn't know he had it in him. it really was a cleverly done ad. it was a three-minute web ad where maybe she was on the screen for 30 seconds. it was about how the democrats are having a very difficult time fielding al serious candidate for this race. even though senator mcconnell is one of their number one targets. so i thought it was a funny ad. you know, it was ashley judd in her own words. nobody was attacking her. >> is ashley judd the best candidate the democrats could field, assuming mcconnell doesn't have to worry about a primary challenge from the right, shall we say, is she the best that the democrats could put up against him, paul? >> the best would be the governor, steve ba sheer.
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he's very, very popular. he has little or no interest in serving in the united states senate. i don't think -- i know mcconnell is doing this because he's scared. how do i know? my old friend, mentor, former client of georgia speaking the way kentucky people can appreciate, why is he attacking so viciously so far from the election? because he's scared. and he's scared of the tea party first which might -- there's already talk in the kentucky papers of business people -- one businessman in particular running as a tea party candidate against mcconnell in the tea party primary. they might beat him and even if they don't, they could weaken him so judd could take it. >> do you think, paul -- >> hold on a second, ana. >> do you think the governor
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would be a stronger democratic challenger to mitch mcconnell but would ashley judd be a strong candidate? >> of course. these got a case to make. she's got wide popularity. i've worked in kentucky. it's one of my favorite places. she for many people has become the face of kentucky basketball, kentucky wildcats. if you don't believe in the kentucky wildcats, they call you a an atheist. he's the most powerful republican in the senate and he's scared to death of an actress back home. that's why he's running these ads. the proof in the pudding is in the negative ads how worried should he be, ana? >> i just have to tell you that i think my friend paul completely mischaracterized this ad. it's not a vicious attack.
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she's a tiny part of that ad. video of ashley judd nominating from the state of ten knee in her own words is a vicious attack, then that's president obama and ashley judd's problem, not mitch mcconnell's. i think he's doing a good job. the best thing he can do is be a good leader in the senate right now. do your job well and that's your best safeguard to a primary or to a tough challenge and the bottom line is, if you look at the entire ad, it's not about ashley judd. there was an enormous amount of candidate who is are saying that they want to run against him. a lot of them who are whacky, one of them likes to wear a top hat a lot, a lot of them like to refer to her as ones who are saying they don't want to run, who would be the more serious candidates, the lieutenant governor, some congresspeople, et cetera. so this is not the add of a scared person. this is the ad of a confident
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person. >> ana and paul -- hold up, paul, unfortunately, we're up against the clock, so we can't continue, but we will, one of these days. thank you. coming up, by the way, in our next hour, it sounds like something out of a movie. $50 million in diamonds stolen in a shocking heist. we're going to be right back. did you know, your eyes can lose vital nutrients as you age? [ male announcer ] that's why there's ocuvite to help replenish key eye nutrients. ocuvite has a unique formula not found in your multivitamin to help protect your eye health. ocuvite. help protect your eye health.
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a georgia prisoner whose supporters argue is a mentally disabled is set to be executed today. lisa sylvester is monitoring that and some of the other top stories in "the situation room" right now. what's going on? >> wolf, the supreme court of georgia has denied a stay of execution for warren lee hill, who is scheduled to die by injection for the 1990 killing
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of a fellow inmate. hill's lawyers argue that because he has an iq of 70, he should be spared under a 2000 decision barring the execution of the mentally disabled, but a number of state courts says he doesn't qualify. and the los angeles police chief says it could take several months or longer before a review of allegations made by ex-cop killer christopher dorner can be investigated. dorner vowed to wage a war against the war to clear his name. he died a week ago in standoff with police. and the monster storm system in the western u.s. is expected to pose a triple threat across the country over the next three days, eventually bringing snow to parts of the southwest, a blizzard to the central plains, and severe storms to texas, louisiana, and arkansas. winter storm conditions are expected in the next 24 hours and portions of california and nevada and colorado.
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and the los angeles staples center will become a meat-free zone for singer morrissey's upcoming sold-out concert. for the first time, vendors inside and surrounding the arena will all be 100% vegetarian when he plays there next week. the singer, who is a vegetarian and animal rights activist, said he wanted to forbid the sale of, quote, flesh as food, and he is calling the move a victory for the animals. that's not a small task at all, wolf. >> let's listen a little bit to the music. ♪ i'm throwing my arms around ♪ >> always look for an excuse to listen to music here in "the situation room." and we had an excuse right there. >> livens things up a little bit. >> i like music. you know that. >> and i'm sure you're a morrissey fan, as well. >> i like all kinds of music. very, very eclectic. it's the picture many have been waiting for.
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the duchess of cambridge showing off her royal baby bump. you'll see the video, when we come back. [ female announcer ] what if the next big thing, isn't a thing at all? it's lots of things. all waking up. connecting to the global phenomenon we call the internet of everything. ♪ it's going to be amazing. and exciting. and maybe, most remarkably, not that far away. we're going to wake the world up. and watch, with eyes wide, as it gets to work. cisco. tomorrow starts here.
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that your mouth is under attack, from food particles and bacteria. try fixodent. it helps create a food seal defense for a clean mouth and kills bacteria for fresh breath. ♪ fixodent, and forget it. then you're going to love this. right now they're only $14.95! wow-a grt deal just got a whole lot better. hurry. $14.95 won't last. the picture a lot of people around the world have been waiting for, a noticeably pregnant catherine, the duchess
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of cambridge, stepping out in public. cnn royal correspondent, max fisher, has details. >> so the duchess of cambridge completes her first official engagement with a visible baby bump. she did nothing to hide it. she didn't wear a coat. some people thought that she would. there was a huge amount of interest in these images. have a look at the huge press pack, scrambling, just to get a sense of what she looks like. it is just a pregnancy, but this is the future queen, who's going to give birth to the future monarch. she's trying to use her fame by highlighting causes is she cares about. in there, she met recovering addicts in a charity that she's patron of. we'll get to see the duchess in public again next month, as she takes her visit to northern england. there'll be an even bigger press pack, that's going to build all the time as we head toward the birth in july. max foster, cnn, london.
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happening now, cops and alarm bells, how president obama is wrapping up fears about forced budget cuts. a brazen heist. robbers steal $50 million worth of diamonds in a very public place. the blade runner's defense. is his explanation of his girlfriend's death believable? a gunman's obsession. new clues about a possible motive for the newtown massacre. and in control. inside the white house campaign to shape media coverage of the president. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." the president clearly wants all of us to be very, very worried about the budget acts that's about to fall. he's warning that a lot of people will lose their jobs if forced spending cuts are allowed
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to take effect ten days from now. and he says many more americans will suffer in some way. listen to these clips of his newest attempt to light a fire under congress. >> meat cleaver approach, jeopardize military readiness, eviscerate medical research. emergency responders, degraded. border patrol agents, reduced. fbi agents, furloughed. federal prosecutors, let criminals go. airport security, cutbacks. thousands of teachers, laid off. parents, flu vaccinations, and cancer screenings. threat of these cuts not well thought through, not smart, not fair, hurt our economy. this is not an abstraction. people will lose their jobs. >> that's a shortened version of what the president had to say. let's go in depth with our chief white house correspondent, jessica yellin, who is here. this is a big issue right now. >> it really is, wolf. and it's just ten days now until these forced budget cuts go into effect. top administration officials tell me, if that happens, the president believes the politics are on his side.
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with congress out of town, president obama took to the bully pulpit, warning about the effects of forced spending cuts that hit every part of government next friday. >> there is a smarter way to do this, to reduce our deficits without harming our economy. >> reporter: he's talking about more than $1 trillion in painful cuts that can still be avoided if congress reaches agreement on deficit reduction. the package of cuts came from the 2011 debt ceiling deal, and it was never meant to go into effect. during the presidential campaign, mr. obama said as much. >> it will not happen. >> reporter: but congress has not been table to reach a compromise that would replace these cuts with smarter deficit reduction. so the sword is about to fall. among the immediate effects, funding cuts for 70,000 kids on head start, possible five-hour waits to get through security at
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the airport, deployment of one aircraft carrier has been postponed, and the navy has suspended overhaul of another. that's not to mention temporary layoffs, including first responders, like the ones behind the president. >> now, if congress allowed this meat cleaver approach to take place, it will jeopardize our military readiness, it will eviscerate job-creatie ining investment. >> reporter: in a statement, senator mitch mcconnell slammed the president, saying today's event at the white house proves, once again, that more than three months after the november election, president obama still prefers campaign events to common sense bipartisan action. still, no compromise. the crux of the dispute, democrats want revenue, republicans want spending cuts, including more changes to entitlement programs like social security. one prominent budget expert said the president's legacy rests on
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finding a solution. >> if he can't cut the mustard with solvency of social security, under honest appraisals of the trustees, he will have a failed presidency. >> the idea for the sequester came from the white house, but 174 house republicans voted for it. so everyone is in the same boat on this one. and wolf, kate, i'll tell you, most people i talked to in washington expect next friday's deadline to come and go without a deal, so we should all brace for these cuts to come into effect. >> it doesn't look like there's heavy-duty negotiations going on between these various sides. so we'll see what happens. thanks very much for that, jessica yellin. by the way, later, i'll be discussing all of this with a republican senator, tea party favorite, rand paul, the looming budget cuts. he's our guest. i'm going to be filling in for anderson cooper on "a.c. 360" tonight, 8:00 p.m. eastern. kate balduan is here, as usual, with the first look at what's
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going on in south africa right now with the blade runner's case. that is a huge development today. >> a big day in the murder case against oscar pistorius, wolf. the olympic track star says a sense of terror rushed over him and minutes later, his girlfriend was dead. we now have a detailed account from pistorius himself, his version, of what happened to reeva steenkamp on valentine's day. cnn's robin kernow is following this really sensational case in south africa. robyn? >> wolf and kate, this is the first time we're hearing from oscar pistorius, his version of events, his description of what happened on that tragic morning when reeva steenkamp was shot dead. take a look at this. as oscar pistorius arrived for his bail hearing, his brother and family joined him to give support. journalists jostled to get inside the small courtroom and officials seemed unable to cope with the huge media interest.
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and outside, a group of protesters called for an end to violence against women. but inside the court, the state argued and persuaded the magistrate that pistorius should be, charged with premeditated murder. and with our iphones and snatches of footage taken after the magistrate had left the court, we can show you just how startled, scared, and lonely oscar pistorius looked. he cried or sobbed throughout the bail hearing, despite the presence of his family. pistorius looked so different from this confident athlete, who broke stereotypes to run in the olympics, despite being a double amputee. he continued, though, to break down when his legal team read out an affidavit. this is a shortened version of pistorius' side of the story. "i woke up, went to the balcony to bring the fan in and close the sliding doors. i heard a noise in the bathroom, i felt a sense of terror rushing over me. there were no burglar bars across the bathroom window, and i knew that contractors had left
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ladders outside. i did not have my prosthetic legs on. i grabbed my 9-millimeter pistol from underneath my bed. i screamed to get out of my house and for reeva to phone the police. it was pitch dark in the bedroom and i thought reeva was in the bed. i fired shots at the toilet door and shouted to reeva to phone the police. she did not respond. when i reached the bed, i realized that reeva was not in the bed. that's when it dawned on me that it could have been reeva in the toilet. i found the key and opened the bathroom door. reeva was slumped over, but alive. later in the affidavit, he said, she died in my arms. riva's last moments will no doubt be further examined on wednesday during the second day of the bail hearing, as the state will try to reinforce why they don't believe his version of events and why oscar pistorius should be kept in jail until a trial. and while oscar pistorius was
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facing that magistrate, don't forget that reeva steenkamp was being laid to rest. she was cremated and there was a very emotional memorial service for her in her hometown of port elizabeth. people, loved ones, people who knew her, calling her an angel. wolf, kate, back to you. robyn kurnow, thank you. such a sad story. now to the unsolved mystery of newtown massacre. what was adam lanza's motive? it has been over two months, if you can believe it, since he opened fire inside sandy hook elementary school, becoming one of the most notorious mass killers in the world. there's new evidence suggesting that's exactly what he wanted. here's cnn national correspondent susan candiotti. >> kate, many wonder what was going on in adam lanza's mind. what drove him to kill so many innocent children and teachers, and even his own mother? lanza was, quoting mere,
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obsessed with mass murderers. a source with knowledge of the investigation tells cnn. and the source adds, there's alleged evidence to back it up. one of those mass murderers, according to cbs and "the hartford courant," is norwegian mass murderer, anders bravic, who in 2011, killed 77 people, mainly teenagers in oslo and a nearby island. unlike lanza, breivik was caught and convicted. one theory is that lanza idolized breivik, and wanted, as sick at it sounds, to outdo his body count. lanza reportedly may have chosen sandy hook elementary because its targets, children and teachers, were in a confined area. apparently, there may be some evidence to, in part, back up a possible obsession with breivik. "the hartford courant" says investigators found several news stories about the norway murders at the lanza home he shared with his mother. we also know that lanza was into violent video games and he played them in a game room at
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his house. federal agents have also said that lanza and his mother went to several gun ranges. authorities have said that she kept her guns in a lock box, but some of those guns were used to kill her and the 26 children and teachers at sandy hook elementary. "the hartford courant" also says connecticut state police went to washington last week to share their theories with federal authorities. the fbi is still trying to retrieve information from lanza's hard drive that he smashed into a million pieces before launching his massacre. will we ever truly know what was going on inned ed ned edin ada? police say wait for their final investigative report in a few months. kate? >> susan candiotti, thanks so much. it's amazing to think it's already been two months since that massacre happened. it still feels like it was yesterday. >> and i suspect she's right, we probably will never know completely what motivated -- >> how can you wrap your mind around that, you know? >> all right. thank you. it took eight thieves and only a few minutes to steal a
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treasure-trove of diamonds, get this, $50 million worth of diamonds. up next, the true crime story that sounds like a hollywood-style heist. a new belt. some nylons. and what girl wouldn't need new shoes? and with all the points i've been earning, i was able to get us a flight to our favorite climbing spot even on a holiday weekend. ♪ things are definitely looking up. [ male announcer ] with no blackout dates, you can use your citi thankyou points to travel whenever you want. visit to apply. to travel whenever you want. music: "make someone happy" music: "make someone happy" ♪it's so important to make meone happy.♪.♪it's so e ♪make just one heart to heart you - you sing to♪ ♪one smile that cheers you ♪one face that lights when it nears you.♪ ♪and you will be happy too.
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massive hunt underway right now for jewel thieves behind the biggest diamond heist in recent memory. >> it's an amazing story and police say these guys were professionals and they were bold. this wasn't a robbery in some dark back room, it was on an airport tarmac and they got away with some $50 million worth of jewels. our senior international correspondent, dan rivers, is in brussels. dan, what are you learning this evening? >> reporter: well, it sounds like "oceans eleven," but this is the brussels eight. the stones are gone, the men have disappeared, the authorities appear to have not a single clue about how to recover them. it required chutzpah, inside
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knowledge, and some very fast driving. one of the biggest gem heists ever and the question is, who did it? who would dare to steal $50 million worth of diamonds from a supposedly super secure european airport? it all sounds like the plot of a hollywood blockbuster, a rather unbelievable hollywood blockbuster. the sheer audacity of this heist is breathtaking. they simply drove into brussels international airport, flashed their guns, and drove off with tens of millions of dollars worth of diamonds. and all without a shot being fired. at 7:47 local time monday night, the gang cut through a perimeter fence near a building site and drove parallel to the busy runway in two cars. they knew where to go, stopping a swiss airliner, holding three people at gunpoint, stealing bags of uncut diamonds that had been unloaded from a brinks security truck. >> they have returned to the car and sped off again, left the airport perimeter, exactly 11
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minutes after they have entered. the operation at the airport has taken exactly three minutes. so this was a very quick hit and run, very well organized. >> reporter: the diamonds were being transported from antwerp to zurich. antwerp is the world's diamond capital. $200 million of the stones are transported through this airport each day. traders here say they fear damage to their status as a world hub could be significant among rising concerns over security. but experts say the mastermind of this heist will be tough to uncover. >> i imagine whoever commissioned the heist would keep as far a distance as he can, as far as identification is concerned, between himself and the people who actually carried out the robbery. >> reporter: the thieves were reportedly dressed in uniforms to make them look official, with europe's open borders they could have driven to any one of two dozen european countries by now,
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with the loot that's extremely difficult to trace. and this isn't the first time that brussels' airport has been targeted. four separate attacks in the last decade, all targeting cash and diamonds, some of them got away with it, some of them didn't. they certainly got away with this latest one. >> and dan, the easy with which it seems they pulled this operation off and got it done in, what, 11 minutes? this clearly seems like they had inside help, if it wasn't entirely an inside job. what are authorities saying about that question? >> reporter: they're pretty tight-lipped here, but, yeah, they must have had inside knowledge here. they didn't dither, they made a beeline for that plane. they didn't take any other bags, only took the two bags with the diamonds in it and they were out in 11 minutes. they knew what they were doing. they had submachine guns with laser sights on them, almost a military-style operation. they clearly had some knowledge that these diamonds were going to be there. clearly, there are going to be
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some really difficult questions for the head of security at this airport. >> yeah, absolutely. dan rivers in brussels for us. thanks so much, dan. of course, a big question is where do those diamonds go now? still ahead, a breakfast cereal is possibly contaminated with glass fragments. we have details of the recall underway right now. plus, controlling the president's message. we go inside the white house media machine, next. more than two years ago,
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wall street today rebounding to pre-recession highs. kate's got that and some of the day's other top stories. if you're investing in the stocks, so far you're doing well. >> good news for you. a big day on wall street. both the dow and the s&p 500 close at five-year highs today, levels they haven't seen since
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before the financial crisis and the nasdaq hit its highest level since 2000. all three indices are up at least 6% this year with the dow now closing in on its all-time high, set in october 2007. we'll be watching what happens tomorrow. and a surprise announcement by president obama. the man who led allied forces in afghanistan is retiring from the military. general john allen was on track to become nato's new allied supreme commander, but he's stepping down because of what he calls health issues in his family. the president calls allen one of america's finest military leaders. and attention cereal eaters, this is troubling news. kelloggs is recalling three sizes of special k. redberries due to possible contamination with glass fragments. a posting on the special k. website says there are no reports of injuries. that same website also has a complete list of exactly which boxes are affected and how you can get a free replacement. so definitely go check that out.
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and here's a question for you today. does the first lady have a mid-life crisis? michelle obama tells the rachael ray show, yes. >> this is my mid-life crisis, the bangs. i couldn't get a sports car, they won't let me bungee jump, so instead, i cut my bangs. >> so you went for the bangs, you're the boss of your hair. >> i can do this. this is all mine. >> i can do this. this is all mine. first lady revealed her bangs last month on her birthday, just before the inauguration. i would argue, your favorite part of the inauguration was michelle obama's bangs. >> i like the bangs. i think she looks great. >> it's all about the bangs. >> do you like the bangs? >> i like the bangs. >> what about you? >> i was actually going to say you would look good with bangs. >> no, but you -- >> i don't think so. >> you have a long time before you have to worry about a mid-life crisis. no bangs for kate. one organization is likening president obama to a puppet master. we're going to talk about white house efforts to control the mainstream news media's coverage of the president.
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also ahead, tiger woods breaks his silence about a golf outing with the president that was kept under wraps. i know; it's exciting! wow! what exactly is a cashback concierge? well there's lots of ways you can get cash back - i'm here to help you get the most bang-for-your-buck. it's a personalized thing from discover. it's easy, we won't try and sell you anything, and it's free. free? i want that. yeah you do! this guy is great. high-five through the phone! yeah! i did it. did you actually do it? oh, i did! i totally did. at discover, we treat you like you'd treat you. cashback concierge get the new it card at
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we're learning more about the way the white house is trying to create an obama brand, carefully controlling the media's coverage of the president. we certainly saw today during his remarks about forced budget cuts, as usual, everything was highly choreographed, including the police officers in the background, to drive home his message. he gave a statement and left. no reporter questions were allowed. and that's just one slice of a very sophisticated 24/7 operation. and joining us now, jim vandehei, the executive editor of politico, and mike allen, the chief white house correspondent for politico. guys, thanks very much for coming in. the article, explosive. obama the puppet master. puppet master of the media. what is he doing differently, jim, than other presidents used to do? >> i think what he's done is he's taken the old techniques and put them on steroids.
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he's frozen out reporters from "the new york times," "wall street journal," politico, "washington post," places that used to get presidential interviews have gone years without presidential interviews. he's also greatly limited the number of impromptu appearances he's had, where he can get questioned by anybody if the press, particularly after they do these staged photo op events. bush did 150 of these where he took questions, and obama 100 in the exact same time period. so there's a lot less of it. and there's this new dimension of creating their own content around the media, creating their own photos or media and shooting them through twitter or facebook instead of opening the white house up to scrutiny. >> but everybody pays attention to all those tweets, those photos, all the stuff that the white house is putting out on social media. the mainstream media rushes to put it out there, to give it some publicity. >> that's right. one of the photographers who's been frustrated by the fact that something in the past, he would have been called in cover, instead, goes out as a white house photo. he said, i don't blame the white house for doing this, because
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people use them. but what we heard again and again -- >> should we not be using those photos, those official white house photos that come out, of the president doing something? >> well, it's a different question in the news photographers say that people used to be much less likely to use them. i remember when that photo came out of the president taking a dip in the gulf after the oil spill. ap wouldn't run it. there used to be much more resistance to it, but both because of the new technology that makes it easier and because so many news organizations are cash strapped now, they're much more likely to. and what we heard again and again, from reporters in the room is, yes, this president does a lot of interviews. we found out, he has done three times as many interviews as george w. bush does. but it's not like the people covering them day to day, like you used to, when you were there in the front row. ann compton of abc has covered every president going back to jerold ford, she hasn't been in the oval office in six months, which she says is the longest time in 39 years on the beat that she hasn't been -- >> you mean when she went in
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there for a photo opportunity, where she could ask the president a quick question. jay carney, the white house press secretary responded to your article today. among other things, he said this. >> having been where you are, i understand, and i doubt that there's ever been a white house press corps that's ever been wholly satisfied with the level of access that they have been afforded. but we work very closely with all of you to try to provide access to the president. >> when i was a white house correspondent, seven years during the clinton administration, we used to complain all the time about access. so the criticism that we're hearing right now is to a certain degree, nothing new. >> there's no doubt we're a whiney, needy bunch in the white house when i covered it. you're always complaining and you always want more access. i think the thing people need to be worried about is you think, every new president follows what the previous administration did. so they're going to continue to use more and more controls. and technology has essentially tipped the powers of the balance to the government toward the media. so you might love barack obama and you might want to look at
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those great pictures of him looking very pensive and in control now, and you might want the content that the government's producing and wants you to see and think about when you're digesting stories. but what about when you have a president you don't trust or actually might be up to nefarious activities? the more that there's not a press that could ask tough questions, be in front of the question, ask about, what i are you doing what you're going on immigration quick why aren't we paying more attention to debt, what happened in libya, explain more about the drones program. that stuff matters. so that the fringes might want to bellyache all the time about the mainstream press, but somebody has to be the watchdog, and that has always been the greatest utility, i think, of the mainstream media. >> was your article, in part, inspired by the failure of the white house to allow us to get a picture of the president playing golf with one of the greatest golfers in the street of the game, tiger woods? >> not about the golf. we're doing this story before that, talked to white house officials about it before that, and what we heard again and again from reporters in the room was that people trying to cover the day-to-day development of
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policy, gun control, immigration, that they worked knowing who the president was meeting with, weren't getting information, weren't getting the readouts that reporters such as yourself were used to getting. instead, they get "west wing week," which is the white house's pop cast which takes zippy music and behind the scenes footage that in the past might have been available to networks, but instead is now only available to white house photographers and they're producing their own tv show. >> and the tiger woods flap is a distraction. i think there should be more access. by looking at one trivial matter, it distorts a much broader debate. and that is that every single person that's covering this white house is sort of seeing the exact same thing. it's the greater use of all these tools for being able to manipulate coverage of the white house. and then just going around and circumventing the mainstream media. and it's ahappening at a time when the government has all of these tools. not just social media --
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>> but if you listen to the right-wing media, they say the mainstream media, politico, cnn, "the new york times," whatever, that we're with the white house and they allow them to manipulate us. >> and what we did with this behind the curtain column was made it clear not what's going on, mike mccurry, press secretary under clinton, interestingly enough, told us that he felt it was his obligation to represent the press. he said when he would talk to you guys in the gaggle and you would talk about what he needed for the day, he would go into the senior staff meeting and talk about what the press needed. and he said that he talks to white house reporters now, and they feel like that there's not somewhere there who feels like they need to cooperate, which makes it harder for us to do our job. >> what's been the reaction from the white house to your article? >> no reaction. >> no reaction? no direct phone calls? >> no direct phone calls. >> you know what the interesting reaction is on the right, rush limbaugh and others have torn us to pieces on their shows today, saying, this is the media. they're just using this as an excuse for the fact that they've failed to provide aggressive coverage of barack obama, as
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opposed to actually looking at the story, which i think most people would interpret as a fair if not critical look for the control mechanisms that this white house uses on the media. >> and the white house says, yes, the mainstream media is losing power, but the white house has been disaggregated, and all kinds of outlets that didn't exist before, don't have journalistic standards, don't necessarily have an obligation to be fair, so they say, that's one of the reasons they have to crank up their machine. >> guys, thanks very much for coming in. jim vandehei, mike alan, appreciate it. >> thanks for having us in "the situation room". >> appreciate it. tiger woods is now talking about his golf outing with the president last weekend, the one we didn't get to see, because the white house would not allow any photos, no journalists were allowed to cover that event. here's what tiger woods told the golf channel. >> playing with mr. president was pretty cool. he's just a wonderful person to be around and we won.
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>> a bit later, woods was asked how he and the president made their golf date. >> yeah, he calls up and says, hey, tiger, do you want to play? >> he does not. >> okay. um, no, obviously, there is a process that's involved and i was invited to play and it was an invitation that certainly you don't turn down and especially being he's an avid golfer and so am i, so we went out there and we had just a great round of golf with ron and jim and it was a good day. >> see if the president's game has really improved as a result of those lessons he got over the weekend. other news we're following, including about a secret group of hackers, reportedly based out of one building and going after big u.s. corporations, government entities. wait until you hear who's behind it, that's coming up.
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one of the world's most powerful militaries reportedly has a secret unit of hackers. >> the chinese military, now army, is now being tied to a massive cyberspying campaign, targeting big american corporations, oil pipelines, and power grids. cnn's brian todd is here. brian, these are really frightening details. >> they are. and this report traces the hacking of a very secretive unit of the chinese military over the course of seven years. the report says that unit's hacked into american companies, stolen content, and even threatened utilities and it even pinpoints the building where much of it was done.
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it's a dreary-looking 12-story office building in shanghai, but according to a new report, it houses part of a shadowy chinese military unit, responsible for thousands of hacks into american businesses and government agencies. the report from the cybersecurity firm mandiant says the group goes by discreet code names and is a secret division of the chinese military, sanctioned at the top levels of the government. what are they stealing? >> that's a great question. and it actually sort of depends on industry, but at the end of the day, it's hard to eliminate anything. it's word documents, power point documents, e-mail, pdf documents, xcel spread sheets. >> reporter: it gets more ominous. he says that they have targeted vital american services. we got more specific information. cybersecurity rest say that the chinese unit also trains its
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attacks on infrastructure in north america. electrical grids and switchers like this one, oil and gas facilities, water treatment plants. one prominent cybersecurity researcher told us that last september, a company that designed software giving oil and gas companies and power grid operators access to things like valves and switches was successfully hacked by that military unit. that firm, telvent says it's working with its customers and law enforcement. mandiant says even though utilities have been attacked, none have been disabled. it says it starts with spearfishing, an e-mail sent to a company official in the u.s. the victim opens an attachment or a zip file and their computer is infected. mandiant has tracked this for seven years. he would monitor the affected computers of victims who have hired his firm and go back click by click. >> we saw someone log into the
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victim network and start checking its g-mail account. law enforcement would call this a wiretap. we call it full con accountant monitoring. >> the chinese government has blacked out some of cnn's reporting oen this story, even as it emphatically denies sanctioning hacking. >> translator: making baseless accusations is irresponsible and unprofessional and it doesn't help solving relevant issues. china resolutely opposes to any form of hacking activities. >> reporter: the white house, pentagon, and state department are all aware of the mandia report. it says it's taking actions to confront senior chinese officials about hacking. diane finestein says she has raised this with chinese official herself and she says they're in denial. kate and wolf? >> and this firm, mandiant, even uncovered, down to the specific person, some of the people involved with this. >> he says back to its own
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tracking, it's learned the handles of some of these hackers that go by monikers of ugly gorilla. they acknowledge that now that the chinese are on to them and know that they're on to them, they'll be harder to track now. but they're going to keep at them. >> scary stuff. brian todd, thank you. >> thank you. all right. this is just coming into "the situation room." cnn's elise labott has confirmed that the secretary of state, john kerry, is expected to meet with syrian opposition leaders next week in rome, as part of his first official overseas trip as america's top diplomat. kerry said last week that he has some ideas on how to change the current situation in syria. he plans to address those ideas with european and middle eastern leaders while on his trip, which starts on sunday. they released the itinerary earlier today. among the places he's visiting, the united kingdom, germany, france, italy, turkey, egypt, saudi arabia, the united arab
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emirat emirates, and requeqatar. president obama is putting new heat on those to keep those forced budget cuts from taking effect. kate will ask a republican if there's room for compromise over the next ten days. ha ha ha! no no no! not today! ha ha ha! ha ha ha! jimmy how happy are folks who save hundreds of dollars switching to geico? happier than dikembe mutumbo blocking a shot. get happy. get geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more. there's a lot i had to do... watch my diet. stay active. start insulin... today, i learned there's something i don't have to do anymore. my doctor said that with novolog® flexpen, i don't have to use a syringe and a vial or carry a cooler. flexpen® comes prefilled with fast-acting insulin used to help control high blood sugar when you eat.
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we heard president obama describe the impact of forced budget cuts and some pretty extreme terms today, with just ten days left until they go into effect, is there any hope for any compromise with republicans? we're join pd by congresswoman cathy mcmorris rodgers now, the chair of the house republican conference, a key member of house republican leadership. congresswoman, thanks for taking the time. >> thank you, kate. good to be with you. >> of course. so the president, i'm sure you
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know, had some pretty tough words for you and your fellow republicans today, in terms of these massive spending cuts that are heading our direction in ten days. listen here. >> republicans in congress face a simple choice. are they willing to compromise, to protect vital investments in education and health care and national security, and all the jobs that depend on them, or would they rather put hundreds of thousands of jobs and our entire economy at risk, just to protect a few special interest tax loopholes who benefit only the wealthiest americans and biggest corporations? that's the choice. >> so president obama says this is a choice, and that is your choice. i mean, we've been down this road so many times before. it's deja vu having this conversation with you and i'm sure you feel the same way. is there room for compromise? will republicans compromise? >> well, the republicans very much want to work with the president, want to work with the senate democrats in setting priorities for spending, within
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the federal government. but we need the president, we need the democrats to recognize that washington, d.c. has a spending problem. and president obama, today he's calling for raising taxes. before we talk about raising taxes on hard-working americans, we need to address the wasteful spending that we continue to see within the federal government. this year alone, we spent $2.2 billion on free cell phones in 2013. and the list goes on and on. and yet the democrats are not recognizing we have a spending problem or the impact of out of control spending on our economy. >> i know republicans and i saw a statement from speaker boehner today, saying that raising taxes is not on the table. the revenue question has -- the revenue debate has been closed. so can you say with 100% certainty that republicans will not go along with any tax increases, even on the wealthiest americans, even on big corporations? >> we need to address the
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spending side of this equation. that's where the republicans believe that we can find the common ground. the sequester, these across the board cuts, drastic cuts, disproportionately impacting the military and our defense, they were president obama's idea and they came into effect because we didn't agree on spending cuts. and so as we reach -- >> congresswoman, this might have been the president's idea but you well know these would not have gone into effect unless republicans, including yourself, would not have overwhelmingly agreed to it back in the summer of 2011. >> we agreed to find the spending reductions, $1.2 trillion in cuts. that is what we agreed to. it was president obama who proposed the sequester if we didn't find that agreement to cut the spending. and the republicans twice now, we've put forward proposals to
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replace these cuts with more reasonable approaches and we passed a proposal six weeks ago, we passed a proposal six months ago, and we need the democrats to put their proposal on the table before march 1st. >> i kind of get the sense that everyone kind of seems resigned to the fact that ten days out, a deal's not going to be struck. the brinksmanship seems to be at an all-time high and the partisan divide seems wider than ever. we're ten days out. where is the sense of urgency? the house is not in this week. will we be going right up again to another self-imposed deadline? >> well, i think it's very unfortunate and we have known for some time that march 1st is coming and that's why the house did take action. the house showed what our proposal was going to be and we passed it out of the house. we passed it twice now. what we need is for the democrats to acknowledge that there's a spending problem but instead, we have president obama calling for raising taxes, we
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have nancy pelosi, who was saying it's not a spending problem, it's a deficit problem. well, you get deficits by spending too much. steny hoyer was saying it's a pay-for problem. the democrats refuse to acknowledge that washington has a spending problem. we're on the road to greece and europe if we do not address this spending and it's dragging our economy down. it is costing us jobs right now. until we acknowledge there's a spending problem, start making the tough decisions, setting priorities, our economy's not going to grow. that's why it is so important that we have to agree first of all that we're going to reduce the spending, start living within our means. >> i think you would agree this is also a result of both congress and the white house kicking the can down the road one too many times. congresswoman, we have to leave it there today. thank you so much. we're counting you on, ten days out. >> okay. vice president joe biden became pretty animated during a town hall on guns today.
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listen to how he answered a question about the proposed restrictions on some weapons and some high capacity magazines. >> if you want to protect yourself, get a double barrel shotgun, have the shells, 12 gauge shotgun, and i promise you as i told my wife, we live in an area that's wooded and somewhat secluded. i said jill, if there's ever a problem, just walk out on the balcony here, walk out, put that double barrel shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house. i promise you, whoever is coming in is not going -- you don't need an ar-15. it's harder to aim, it's harder to use and in fact, you don't need 30 rounds to protect yourself. buy a shotgun. >> as for objections that gun restrictions violate the constitution, biden says it's okay for the government to restrict some weapons. otherwise, people could go out there, buy their own military weapons, even tanks.
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when we come back, joeanne moos introduces us to a horse with a special talent. she can open just about anything. ike our grilled lobster and lobster tacos. the bar harbor bake is really worth trying. [ male announcer ] get more during red lobster's lobsterfest. with the year's largest selection of mouth-watering lobster entrees. like our delicious lobster lover's dream, featuring two kinds of succulent lobster tails. or our savory, new grilled maine lobster and lobster tacos. it's back, but not for long. [ woman ] our guests go crazy for lobsterfest. my favorite entree is the lobster lover's dream. what's yours? come celebrate lobsterfest and sea food differently. constipated? yeah. mm. some laxatives like dulcolax can cause cramps. but phillips' caplets don't. they have magnesium. for effective relief of occasional constipation. thanks. [ phillips' lady ] live the regular life. phillips'. [ phillips' lady ] live the regular life. i've always had to keep my eye on her... but, i didn't always watch out for myself. with so much noise about health care... i tuned it all out.
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a horse in michigan isn't the fastest, strongest or youngest on the farm. >> that's mean to say. but as cnn's jeanne moos shows us, she has a very special talent. >> reporter: this horse doesn't just let herself out of the barn. she opens doors for all the other horses. except her mother. more on those mother/daughter issues later. but first, meet houdini horse. >> her motivation is really just food. >> reporter: her real name is mariska. a 9-year-old living at misty meadows farm in michigan, where her skill at opening everything from coolers to gates prompted owner sandy bonnham to post a compilation of her greatest escape moves on youtube. as someone commented, just goes to show how far one trick can take a pony. her owner says mariska was always good with her mouth. for instance, when she was a baby -- >> she would grab o

The Situation Room
CNN February 19, 2013 1:00pm-4:00pm PST

News/Business. Wolf Blitzer. Traditional reporting and online resources update international news. New.

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